Wednesday, 5 September, 2012 to Saturday, 8 September, 2012

“The vision of the World Student Environmental Network (WSEN) is to be the link connecting global students who are striving to progress with their universities to become incubators of the positive change needed for sustainability to be actively practiced in all aspects of society”.
The University of Lausanne (UNIL), Switzerland, proudly hosted the 5th edition of the World Student Environmental Summit from the 5th to the 8th of September 2012.
The UNIL welcomed 69 delegates from 37 universities (among them 18 were newly selected universities) located in 30 countries. These engaged students were pre-selected by their home universities, and then contacted by the Organizing Committee for final selection and confirmation of their participation. The delegates discussed and debated environmental issues, attended conferences, participated in workshops, shared best-practices, and most importantly met fellow students who are themselves also eager to make change happen in this field. As all continents were represented, there was a great diversity in cultures and fields of academic education, which allowed bringing forward creative perspectives within the debates that were held.
The 2012 WSES was the first summit to have such a specific theme as “Let’s Change!” It made it clear that change is needed in our current times and furthermore, that students are major agents of change at their universities and in their communities. In this context, three levels were addressed: the societal, international and individual levels. From this perspective, the delegates could exchange and learn ideas about solutions on the global and national level as well as hands on recommendations for their projects on the local scale. To foster these components, particularly the latter, a number of experienced activists were invited and one whole afternoon was focused on empowerment of students. On the first day, moreover, students could exchange concrete ideas and experience during a poster exhibition of tangible university projects successfully implemented at some of the universities represented at the Summit.
As Benoit Frund, Vice-Rector for Sustainability and Campus at the University of Lausanne, emphasized in his closing ceremony speech, students are not customers of their university. They are an important part of the community and should try to reinvent it in collaboration with other actors of the institution. We hope that this Summit inspired the delegates to act as change-makers within and outside their university. As Mr. Frund said, if we want to solve the environmental problems which we are facing, we need to change completely the organization of our societies. This will be a heavy undertaking and universities must play an essential supporting and leading role.

For more information click here or see the Outcomes Report of World Student Environmental Summit attached.